By Bach Tong
As of the second week of December, at least 44% of seniors at Science Leadership Academy have applied to one or more colleges — and many of them have won early acceptances those schools.
Senior Tariq Smith, who got in early to the University of Pittsburgh, said that “being accepted is giving me the safe feeling that no matter what happens from here out, [he] will be going to a college”.
Senior Julia Boyer, who also got into Pitt, echoed similar feeling of safety.
“And now as I finish my other applications, I can say to myself “Well, at least I’m going to Pitt” and it makes me feel better.”
Since then, many more students have been accepted to other institutions, including Stanford, University of Pennsylvania, University of the Science of Philadelphia, Arcadia, Eugene Lang College of the New Schools, and many more.
The joyfulness is a result of hard work — for these students, the admission process began very early in their senior year.
“It wasn’t that bad, because Pitt’s application is fairly simple,” said Boyer about applying to University of Pittsburgh. “It just asks the basic ‘What are you SATs?”, “What’s your GPA?”, “What classes are you taking next year?””
Spanish Teacher and Senior Advisor Melanie Manuel says that the advisers and college office have worked “their buns off to make sure we scaffold the college admission process.”
“We start well before [September] and arm our kiddos with as much information as possible so that Seniors are informed and not overwhelmed.”
To help with this process, there are tracking sheets between college counselor Karina Hirschfield, principal Chris Lehman and the advisers to communicate about college admissions.
Ms. Manuel, who keeps a tracking sheet of college acceptances of her advisory, is thrilled every time she hears about a new student who was accepted. “It’s like finding out you won $500 at bingo.”
The challenge for these students now is to stay on track with their academics. These acceptances are dependent on the students graduating with good report cards. If they drop off, their college offers could be revoked.
In a senior meeting last month, Lehmann warned students that he has seen colleges take back their offers of acceptance when their grades dropped for the second part of the year.
Even with her acceptance, Boyer is not taking a break–and she has a specific reason for staying on track.
“I’m going to keep working as hard as I always have,” she said, “because I’m looking to get a scholarship for good grades.”